European minority rights body says Cyprus hate crimes on rise, underreported

A European minority rights body is urging Cypriot authorities to ensure that hate crimes are properly identified an effectively dealt with following reports of an increase in racially motivated violence.

The European Council's Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities says most observers and some government officials acknowledge "significant under-reporting" of hate crimes directed in particular against migrants, refugees, Roma and Turkish Cypriots.

In its report released Monday, the Committee urged Cypriot authorities to intensify police training on reporting, investigating and prosecuting hate crimes.

It said that most hate crime victims are reluctant to turn to law enforcement authorities because of a lack of trust amid reports of "discriminatory behavior," ''excessive use of force" and "alleged racial profiling" by police.